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What floats your boat?

A boat-building challenge to encourage students to consider engineering and physics as subjects and careers.

What floats your boat?

This interactive workshop introduces students to physics and engineering concepts such as buoyancy and density. Students are then challenged to build a boat with specific materials (lollipop sticks, cork, balloons, string, card, foil etc.) and a budget. They then test these through how much 'treasure' (pennies) they can carry before they sink.

Students will be inspired to take on subjects such as marine, electrical and mechanical engineering and physics. They may also be inspired to pursue a career in these fields, for example as a marine engineer involved in designing boats.

This is suitable for groups of up to 40 students in Years 7-9 or S1-3.

Learning outcomes

  • Improve engagement, interest or enjoyment in STEM subjects

  • Improve awareness and aspirations for STEM-related study and careers

  • Challenge stereotypes by showing the diversity of disciplines, people and skills involved in engineering

Subjects and topics

    • Design and Technology
    • Engineering
    • Physics
    • Materials, products and manufacturing
    • Mechanical engineering, systems and processes
    • Structures, construction and civil engineering
    • Transport

Gatsby benchmarks

TheĀ Gatsby benchmarks are a framework for good careers guidance for schools across all of England and in some areas across the rest of the UK. This experience helps your school to reach the following benchmarks:

  • Linking curriculum learning to careers
  • Encounters with further and higher education

Essential skills

The essential skills every young person needs to succeed in education and their future career. Find out more at the Skills Builder Partnership. This experience builds the following skills:

  • Creativity - the use of imagination and the generation of new ideas.

  • Problem solving - the ability to find a solution to a complex situation or challenge.

What the teachers say

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STEM Ambassadors

STEM Ambassadors from a wide range of STEM-related jobs to help bring subjects to life.

  • Ages 11 to 21
  • In-school
  • Full day
  • Free

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